Importance of Village Halls in Rural Communities

A report detailing an audit by independent charity Devon Communities Together into village halls, has shown the importance of village halls in rural community life.

The full report from DCT shares evidence on all the areas DCT audited, including inclusion and accessibility, social media use, hall capacity, role in community resilience and financial status, all of which demonstrate a clear picture of hardworking volunteers seeking to overcome challenges and with ambitions to do even more for their communities.

Charlotte Squire, Project Manager at DCT which has over 60 years’ experience in supporting Devon’s Village Halls and Community Buildings, said: 

“With diminishing local services such as shops, banks, post offices – even GP surgeries – in rural locations, Village Halls present a huge opportunity to ‘step into the breach’ and provide access to vitally important services to people who may otherwise struggle to reach them.

“In many cases this is already starting to happen. We uncovered lots of encouraging examples of halls diversifying to provide what their community needs, including a post office, holiday club, repair cafe, food hub, cancer support group and many more. But all of these halls are volunteer-led and struggling like everyone else with the Cost of Living Crisis and big energy bills, along with inconsistent digital access, a lack of volunteers, skills gaps and underfunding – to name just a few.  

“We hope this report will do two things: firstly, make people stop and think about the true value of Devon’s Village Halls and the dire consequences for rural communities if they were to close; and secondly, to help people understand what support is needed for these Halls to not only carry on, but grow and develop to bring more vital services into these communities for the benefit of everyone living there.”

The audit took place thanks to funding from DEFRA, Devon County Council and NHS Devon to create a Community Asset Map of Devon’s Village Halls.

You can read the full report here

Kerry Booth, Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network said:

"This report is a fantastic insight into the role of the village hall as the hub of our rural communities, however it also raises some of the challenges for their future resilience and the importance of services such as digital connectivity.  This would enable these spaces to be used for a wider range of opportunities for the benefit of community."


Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.